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Psychology

Judith Herman’s Definition of Complex Trauma

According to Judy Lewis Herman’s witty remark, in the present time, the trauma is then forgotten by scientific literature, then it is actively studied again as if forcing research to imitate the psychic that is perceived in them, which obscures the events shocking it.3 In the first half of the 20th century, enriched with ever newer ideas, traumatology commits an expansion from psychoanalysis to related disciplines – to ethnology (Freud) and to culturology (for Rank, the mother’s womb was perhaps the main motivation for myth and symbol formation). From 1960-1980. trauma falls out of the field of cognitive attention. If it is being discussed, it turns into a problem that is relevant to a falsely organized society. Ousted from the mind, as Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari wrote in Anti-Oedipus (1972), is in the service of repression, to which the bourgeois family subjects our bodies-the desire machines. Otherwise, than these authors, but also in a refusal gesture, treated the trauma of Jacques Derrida. In the article “Fors” (1977) he replaces traumatology with cryptology, the doctrine of the cash inside the “I”, the excluded external, about the secret “no-place” – the “crypt” of our desires. The origin of the “crypt” for Derrida is unimportant, as he repeatedly insisted (for example, in the work “Freud and the Scene of Writing”) that he began to imagine himself, at their presence without being present. In Derrida’s own terms, one can say that his philosophy retains the “trace” of what was previously meant by “trauma,” and this “trace” conceptualizes, intentionally losing sight of where it came from. Together with other creators of the intellectual culture of postmodernism, Derrida realized his time as having no genesis, not rooted in the already past history, flowing along its side. The trauma was for Freud and those who spoke about it by his initiative, a synonym for the source, the starting point from which personal development and national history are counted. The reasoning expressed by Herman, perhaps, needs an amendment. It would be more correct to talk not about the fact that science has forgotten about the trauma, as if it had experienced it, but that the culture, evolving, renounced the search for an absolute beginning, from ab origine thinking and, accordingly, interrupted the progressive movement of traumatology.

The revival of traumatology occurred in the last decade of the 20th century. and continues to this day. First of all, it is striking that she occupied herself with the scientific imagination as an industry of historical knowledge, however, unjustifiably narrowed down, which, if we use the word Nietzsche, is “antiquarian”. Having survived the epoch of posthistorism, who did not know his genealogy and eroded the horizon of expectations in an uncertain, unknown in what enduring duration, culture returned to history in order to regard it not so much as a creative force, but as a conservative way – as a memory. After the sixties of the last century put themselves beyond the limits of history, it resumed its existence in images of ruins and archives. In the perception of Dominique La Capra, the share of the present is nothing more than a reaction to the catastrophes that have erupted in the past: all the activity of the present (in relation, for example, to the Holocaust) should be to not alienate ourselves from the disaster that has happened but to think over it thoughtfully “Acting-out” versus “working-through.” 4 Let the trauma be inherent in the sociocultural time, it seems to freeze where it comes from. Traumatology can not do without, as Angela Küner believes, 5 without studying the medical means that make up the memory of the past that has brought society out of balance, making it a collective asset, giving it to the disposal of those who are here and now. It is clear why the current traumatology very often considers its subject not in direct approximation to it, but in the refraction that it finds in literature, cinema, photo art, and so on. The most generalized argument in favor of the modern memorial approach to trauma was formulated by Katie Cart . Dangerous shocks are not immediately realized – they require time to understand, which is history. It belongs to survivors in difficultly tolerable conditions and who do not forget about those individuals – and therefore trauma is planning the future in its ineradicable vitality.7 It is asked: does history really have nothing but the negative experience supplied to the past? Is it just a lag? how, finally, does she manage not to degenerate into a regressus ad infinitum?

Trauma that was once unverbalized becomes in those conditions in which access to it is inevitably mediated by medial implements, “paradoxical”, as defined by the same Cart, 8 is ineffably expressible, predicated in spite of the amnesia caused by it. Correlatively with this, healing of patients under stress is targeted in today’s psychotherapy mainly to induce the patient to “narrative” the trauma9 (of course, such a strategy of healing by the word is related to archaic magic, it goes not too far from conspiracy practices).

Once the story from the point of view of the new traumatology is the memory of people about the damage they have undergone, the trauma is not able to carry out any kind of creative work. Only destructive, if it can be said so, it deprograms the individual, destroys his attitudes, and does not set them up. For Freudism, the trauma is constructive, even if its consequences are abnormal; The damage caused by it is compensated, albeit neurotic way. According to our modern conviction, trauma takes the individual’s capacity, and inspires the self with “negative faith in oneself or in others.” 10 Without being productive, and not answering for the emergence of characters, trauma is understood primarily as a test through which an adult man passes (here are: war, genocide, torture of prisoners, burning at work (burn-out), man-caused and natural disasters, etc.). Children’s trauma (the privileged position of issue violence against the child here) does not differ fundamentally from the one suffered in adulthood11 – both have the same effect of losing the personality of integrating her control over herself, the “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD).

The trauma, which does not mobilize spiritual and spiritual energy, does not orientate it towards setting new tasks and unleashing them, turns out to be well-founded in the body rather than in the psyche, and it is in the studies of the last decades, inspired in many ways by the general theory of emotions, Antonio Damasio (Descartes’ 1994), the response of somatics to too much irritation. It is not the psychic that undergoes a “conversion” in the symptom, as in Freud, but the body processes its affective states with the help of the neural system, which does not allow us to delimit the soul and body. Trauma is biologized and given in neurological illumination, which focuses on such areas of the brain as amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus, regulating – respectively – emotions, short-term memory, and homeostasis and sending signals to the prefrontal cortex. Our behavior is determined in the same way as in psychoanalysis it was a reflection of the unconscious. The neuronal system that manages, in fact, without his knowledge, takes the place of the Freudian “It” (“Es”). In both cases, trauma finds fertile soil in who becomes its victim, because man does not belong entirely to himself-no matter where he gets orders: from the unconscious or from the amygdala and other neuronal areas.

Much of what was discovered by Freudianism, and especially neurological studies, can not be simply dismissed, no matter how fantastic psychoanalysis may be, and no matter how personal differences between people are erased, determination (after all, the device of the brain in all of us, with the exception of anatomical pathologies, is one and also). But in general, both tendencies in traumatology need a fundamental rethinking. Born in the years of “decadence” and in the period that has replaced the early postmodernism, they are stuck – each in its time, prejudiced, imposing its epoch-making prerequisites on the material under review. Lacan tried to free Freudianism from his involvement in the context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, refusing to accept the mental disorder as the starting point for psychology. But these efforts in the correct, generally speaking, direction, led to the fact that man was turned (in the style of surrealism) into the character of an absurdist theater, operating with signs whose values are unknown, for the real one has no name other than death.

To correct the state of affairs in traumatology, it is necessary to observe at least two conditions. First, it follows – after Lacan and following the pattern set by the ancient philosophy and the Judeo-Christian religion – to recognize that the trauma is anthropogenic, that it is all-historical (and thus remains in its consideration in history, without, however, falling into one-sided dependence on this or that segment of socio-cultural time). Secondly, it is required to show that this universalism of injury does not contradict the variety of its results, its ability to produce variate effects, consistent with the variability of those local and temporal circumstances into which the person places himself.

The world in which the child enters is over-saturated with the centers of shock impact on the infantile psyche – all the more easily vulnerable, that it needs outside support and expects it. In whatever form the cataclysm manifested itself (in beatings and humiliations, in the early death of parents or their incompetence, in a shortage of food, in a long illness, in the chaos of revolutions and wars, in evacuation from a violent place and in many respects similar), the creature is traumatized, which is not able to resist unhappiness. Are there any uninjured children’s children? This question should be formulated differently, taking into account the considerations of Alfred Adler on the “inferiority complex.” Is the child in a condition whose psyche is sovereign, because it is autonomous, always satisfies it, subduing what lies beyond its boundary? Of course not. Therefore, it is not only extreme situations that are traumatic but also those in which the children suddenly (indifferently than such a “suddenly” motivated) feel that they are inferior to circumstances, and are weak in comparison with the reality outside reality. Taken so, trauma is inevitable for everyone. Contrary to Lacan, who believed that the desire grows from the shortage of the object, one must think that it is determined by the child’s deficit in the subject’s deficiency. To wish is to strive to become a subject.

The superiority of the macrocosm over the microcosm suppresses the child’s reflection. Perception in principle can not be perceived. The sensory experience is recreated by us and transformed through an associative (caught in the neural network) interpretation, if necessary, distorted, alienated from ourselves, abstracted.13 When this experience traumatizes, it ceases to be interpreted, as soon as the psyche has to diminish itself in the face of the existing psyche blocking the transition from the right hemisphere of the brain to the left14). Trauma is a thing-in-itself, which, had she not been available in the self, would not have captured Kant’s idea of a person’s existence. By contrast, at its maximum, the thing-in-itself is substantiated by the “semantic thing” (the term of Y. N. Tynyanov) – the erection of such a universe, the phenomena of which are noumenal, being not merely existent, but also essential. The problem confronting the subject of this kind of substitution lies in the fact that he does not know what to do with the “dark” remnant of reflection, 15 with its blind spot. Trauma lies in us dead weight. Measuring (we agree with Lacan) the limit of knowledge, it limits the subject in his progressive activity. In the future we all have an impenetrable barrier, an unfamiliar, horror vacui.

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